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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hillary's $5 Million: It’s Already Spent!

The media is abuzz with today’s admission by Senator Clinton that “in late January” she lent her campaign $5 million dollars, saying, “The results last night proved the wisdom of my investment.”

(Quick math: Clinton won 8 states last night, Obama 13, so that’s a million bucks for a net loss of five. Good thing she didn’t lend $10 million instead!)

Considering that Clinton began the month of January, according to Federal Elections Commission filings, with exactly $5 million in unpaid debts (including $1.9 million to pollster Mark Penn’s consulting firm), and the acknowledgement in Clinton’s statement today that the money was used to campaign (and presumably purchase television ads) in Tsunami Tuesday states, guess what? That bundle of five million smackers is already gone.

Clinton campaign co-chairman Terry McAuliffe told reporters last week that the campaign had raised “$13.5 million” in the month of January (compared to $32 million for Obama). I had presumed that that money, the stuff raised in January, was what paid for the 11th hour ad blitz in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Arkansas. Those had been considered “safe” victories for her until Obama’s moves forced her to launch an expensive rescue effort, pinning Clinton down to defending her base while he picked up 13 other states.

Now we learn more of the story: that to stem the bleeding, she had to loan her own campaign seven figures times five.

In all the speculation this morning about a possible forthcoming personal loan to her own campaign, the presumption was that the money would be for the fight ahead. Not so. It was for the fight already waged. And what this story tells us is that the Clinton campaign is broke even after it lent itself this money, which means it is now $10 million in debt plus whatever other unpaid bills have amassed since the New Year.

That sort of raises an eyebrow at her position paper issued last October when she said: “After six and a half year of President Bush’s fiscal irresponsibility, Hillary wants America to regain control of its destiny. She will move back toward a balanced budget and surpluses.”

It’s no great mystery why the Clinton campaign didn’t announce the $5 million loan before voters went to the polls yesterday. But the fact that it all went down last week means that the
money has already been spent, and the Clinton campaign is back in the red all over again.

Hat Tip: Field

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